Proposals to expand the successful enterprise centre on the outskirts of Barnstaple to support economic recovery and create new jobs will go before councillors next week (Wednesday 13 October).
Our Cabinet is being asked to approve up to £640,000 of capital funding towards a £2 million investment to construct phase two of the Enterprise Centre at Roundswell Enterprise Park.
The centre, now known as the “Node”, opened in February. With 57 per cent of offices having already been let (rising to 64 per cent since the report was written), it is already ahead of its two-year target.
It’s estimated that the centre will be at 85 per cent capacity by next summer, and if demand for quality workspace outstrips supply, opportunities for new businesses and the growth of existing occupants at the Node could be limited.
Investment in a two-storey extension would enable the Node to increase by a further 26 per cent, creating an additional 537 square metres of commercial floor space. This is expected to generate an additional 38 jobs with further business support, networking and mentoring from Town Square Spaces, which manages and operates the facility on our behalf.
The proposed expansion of the Node continues to support our economic recovery programme and the Team Devon COVID-19 Economy and Business Recovery Prospectus by creating job opportunities and providing additional workspace for local small businesses and start-ups.
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, our Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said:
“The Node has been a huge success since its launch earlier this year. Despite the pandemic, it’s performing well ahead of expectation, and the take up has highlighted the growing demand for high quality office space in the local area. The pandemic has changed the way a lot of people work and this may in part be why the enterprise centre is proving so successful.
“This additional investment in a second phase of the centre was always planned and it will further support the economic recovery in northern Devon, in line with our recovery programme for the county to stimulate economic growth, new jobs and business start-ups. The extra space will also benefit the ongoing sustainability of the Node and will establish a flagship building for the surrounding employment site at Roundswell.”
The Heart of the South West LEP’s Strategic Investment Panel has approved match funding, but this requires LEP Board approval in November for the development to go ahead. Subject to gaining planning permission next year, the aim is to have the phase two extension open by late summer 2023.
We invested in the £5.3 million first phase of the North Devon Enterprise Centre with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) and European Regional Development Fund.